I am excited to finally share the birth of Malakhai! There is no reason I haven’t shared it yet other than being behind on blog posts. The good side about sharing this powerful birth story, full of strength and determination a year later, is that often, the beauty present in each birth story becomes even more evident over time as families process and revisit not only the joyous moments but the struggles and obstacles they experienced in these transformative moments.
I was so happy when this family found me and asked if we could arrange a face-to-face meeting to see if we were a good match. (I highly recommend this when hiring anyone for your birth, whether it be your OB, midwife, doula, or photographer). From the moment they sat down, their excitement was so evident, and their connection with each other was so beautiful. We had a great conversation and were so excited when they shared they were ready to move forward.
They planned on delivering at Serenity Birth Center here in Las Vegas. It is a beautiful option for families and the only free-standing birth center in Las Vegas.
As her due date came and went, this mom stayed patient and committed to letting their sweet boy arrive in his own time. Finally, just a day shy of 42 weeks, her labor started. They labored at home with their doula in the early phase of labor, and at 0230 in the morning, I got a text from Dad saying they were heading to the birth center. I made my way there as soon as she was admitted and settled. She was in the active stage of labor and approaching transition (7-10 cms). From the beginning, their birth space was quiet and peaceful.
I was excited to finally work alongside their doula, Ednalyna of The Birth Tribe. I had heard such great things about her, and it was evident in watching her hold and support this family why she is so loved.
First babies are often longer labors, and although she had made so much progress before being admitted, the last phases of labor proved to be long for this mama. She moved from the water to bed to standing positions. She stayed committed to whatever positions would help bring her baby down.
It can be challenging for husbands and partners to see the struggle because it can feel helpless and hard to stay patient. The energy of every person in your birth space can feed into your experience, and an anxious person can feed into your energy. This dad stayed so calm, supportive, and encouraging.
The challenging part of this labor was that even though she was finally 10 cms and had the urge to push, her baby stayed high for quite some time. It was hard for mom to rest between the pressure and urge to push.
Between pushing, they tried just about every position imaginable. One of the most useful positions for bringing baby down as they make their final rotations is the toilet; in fact, in the birth community, it is often called ‘the dilation station’.
Finally, almost 18 hours after being admitted, her sweet boy was in her arms. I am still in awe of them both for staying committed and focused and determined to bring their sweet boy earthside in the setting they wanted.
This birth story will always stay with me and will forever inspire me because of their strength and determination. I am honored to have had the opportunity to share their story.
Friday, February 9th, 2024
This beautiful mama found me after they moved to Las Vegas as she began her search for a midwife and birth photographer. I am so happy she found me! They had so much to do while searching for care after moving mid-pregnancy, finding care they felt confident in, and organizing their new home.
I was even more excited that she also wanted to document their pregnancy.
I really love being able to document not only your birth (my true passion), but also more of your journey through maternity, Fresh 48, and newborn sessions. It really tells more of your story, and the story always has my heart.
I have loved having more and more clients this year request in-home maternity and family sessions! I think they have such an intimate feel to them, and I love including the elements of your own home. After all, your home is where your memories together will be made!
Shooting their maternity session in their home was also great because Nicole planned on giving birth at home, so we could have our consult and an opportunity for me to take a look at the areas she would be using for her birth. It really helps me to be visually prepared as far as setting and light. It also makes your birth experience more comfortable because we have already met, and I have more of a feel of your personalities and wishes.
Very rarely do I prefer black and white images over color, but both of their maternity and birth sessions converted so beautifully to black and white, and I adore them.
We also incorporated their Christmas tree into the session since it timed out perfectly with the holidays.
Nicole delivered 3 weeks early with their older daughter and had experienced quite a lot of preterm contractions with this pregnancy. She also had a history of fast delivery with her last baby, so we talked about this quite a bit. Because of her history, I started call for her birth at the 37-week mark, and we talked often to check in with each other so that I would be on high alert when the time came.
She had quite a few moments in the week leading up to the birth that she thought could really be it. She experienced quite a few sleepless nights and uncomfortable cramping, but they always spaced back out and became irregular. It was a bit tricky, but as always, when on call I checked in often and kept my phone right by my head at night. Finally, after her last office appointment, her cervical check did show some cervical change, and her baby was sitting so low, so we amped up our communications. She really wanted to be sure they stayed regular before calling everyone over, and as they became more and more uncomfortable, we finally decided to just be safe and have me head over. Luckily, I live just 20 min away from her.
When I arrived, the door was ajar for me, so I just knew I better book it up the stairs, and sure enough, by the time I got up there, Nicole was in the tub and quite calmly looked over at me and said, “I’m pushing”. The room was dark and calm; her husband, Anthony, was cool as a cucumber. I had beaten the midwife there. As I frantically ran around trying to add enough light to capture some images without being too disruptive and altering the room’s mood, she calmly delivered her baby girl into her arms. Neither one of them got worked up, and it happened so quickly! I could grab one image of her baby emerging and then just started shooting everything as it unfolded.
Her midwives arrived shortly after I did. I always love seeing the Serenity Birth Center birth team, they are such a capable group of midwives.
I was impressed by how well they handled the stress of such a precipitous delivery. They just did what they needed to do, and it unfolded beautifully.
Nicole had really hoped her dad would be in town when she delivered, and he was scheduled to fly out the night she went into labor. It timed out so perfectly. I just love capturing family members meeting their new baby, you could just see the pride all over his face.
Big sister slept through the whole birth, and mom and dad were pretty exhausted, so we decided I would come back the next day to capture more images of them together once everyone rested.
Their daughters are just under a year apart and big sister was so good with her! Documenting siblings meeting is one of my favorite things!
Oh, how I wish I could have captured more of their birth, but I am so happy for them that it was a quick one! And this just goes to show you that there is still so much story surrounding the actual moment of birth. I love the story and the love we were able to capture around it!
Saturday, March 28th, 2020
I am so excited to finally share this beautiful birth story of John Tito, born at home. I adore this family. I met them in 2018 when I documented their first delivery at home. I was in awe of the love they had for each other and the strength of this incredibly powerful mama.
Jennifer delivered her first at home, in the water, and stayed strong through a long labor, delivering their baby girl into her husband’s arms. It was beautiful to witness. Both mom and dad are first responders in our community, with mom being a paramedic and Greg being a firefighter for the city of Henderson.
I was so excited when Jennifer contacted me to document this birth story! There is nothing better than documenting a family as they grow. I was so excited that big sister would be there and that she intended to deliver in the water again.
As with my birth clients, I checked in frequently with Jennifer to see how she was feeling and how things were going as her due date approached. She had gone a week over with her first but felt like she was going to deliver sooner with this one. She is an incredibly busy woman and was in her last semester earning an advanced degree while working, and taking care of a toddler, so as that due date approached, she was so tired and ready to hold her baby in her arms.
I am an early riser and don’t sleep well while on call for births. I woke up at 3 am one morning and checked my phone, as usual, to make sure I hadn’t missed anything just as she texted me to let me know she was having pretty strong contractions, but they weren’t staying too regular quite yet, and that she would keep me posted. Although I have my gear ready at all times while on call, I made sure it was at the door, and I was showered, just in case, because they live about 40 minutes from me.
She updated me again at midday to let me know she had gone to the midwife to be checked and was dilated, and her contractions were still strong but not regular yet. So, I continued to wait! Late afternoon I got the call that it was time. Dads often call me by this point when moms are in active labor, and Greg did call me to let me know they had called the midwife to come, so I headed out there. He felt like she was going fast at this point, so I didn’t waste any time heading out there.
Jennifer was pretty uncomfortable when I arrived and was just ready to move into the tub.
Little Angelina was so cute and well-behaved as Jennifer labored in the water surrounded by her midwives and husband, coming over every so often to give her mama a kiss or drink of water.
Jennifer’s labor was similar to her last at almost the same time of day, right down to the hour. Both times she trusted her body and, between gentle touch and reassurances from her midwives and husband, labored with such strength.
Finally, Jennifer felt the urge to push and work and once again delivered their baby boy into her husband’s arms. It was just beautiful.
I am continually in awe that I witness such strength and beauty in women. I have been a part of the birth industry for almost 20 years now, and the beauty of birth has never faded.
Monday, January 27th, 2020
It’s an honor that you let me capture yours.